Repeating is never easy, especially when you’re coming off a Big Ten Championship and a third-place national finish.

But that’s the goal of the Michigan men’s club water polo team, and, if early results are any indication, it is well on its way to accomplishing it.

Starting the season strong with a 6-2 record, the team heads into the Hoosier Invite at Bloomington and Big Ten Championship in East Lansing in search of a repeat.

Losing much of their starting team from last season, the Wolverines rely heavily on not only the performance of the few returning players but also the play of a select group of freshmen.

Bringing substantial speed to the team, freshman Matt Burke easily found a starting position on the A team this season. Nevertheless, returning members, such as fifth-year senior Ryan Wyatt, senior John Thomas and junior Dan Krudys remain the reason for Michigan success through the beginning of the season.

“(Wyatt) has been playing with the team for almost 10 years. He brings a level of experience and skill that is hard to achieve without the time and effort he puts into his game,” assistant coach Dan Perout said.

The season began before class started with two practices daily. In its first outing at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 10-12, Michigan played against the Michigan Masters, a team consisting of graduated students throughout Michigan. Michigan narrowly escaped with a 13-12 victory.

“Our first tournament was difficult because we were just coming together as a team, and a lot of the success involved in water polo comes from anticipating the cuts and moves of your teammates,” Perout said.

Michigan faced Michigan State twice throughout the year, first at the Michigan State Invitational, losing 2-10, and second at the Boilermaker Invitational Sept. 16-18, falling 4-5.

“In the first game (Michigan State) basically out swam us,” Perout said. “In the second game, I really think that we played the best we could have possibly played but sometimes the ball just doesn’t fall your way.”

As the season progressed, the team started coming together while still learning from its losses.

“The losses to Michigan State were difficult because they are our biggest rival,” junior Glenn Legacki said. “But I think we learned a lot from the game, and we’re probably going to have to face them again at Big Tens.

Though the losses proved hard on the team, it experienced significant victories over Illinois, 8-6, Miami (Ohio), 16-11, and Purdue, 12-10.

“With each tournament, I believe, we become more and more of a team,” Perout said.

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